Executives with casino developer MGM Resorts joined Mayor Domenic Sarno today [Wednesday] to kick off their referendum campaign for a casino in Springfield. Voters go to the polls July16th to decide whether or not to approve the host agreement signed by MGM and Sarno, and endorsed by the City Council. MGM’s Kelley Tucky says the campaign will launch a voter information drive on the proposed 800 million dollar resort in the city’s South End
“They should say yes for a lot of reasons. Number one; 3,000 permanent direct jobs, 2,000 construction jobs, and a lot of development monies and tax dollars coming to the city as a result of MGM Springfield coming here.”
Tucky would not disclose how much MGM plans to spend on the campaign, adding that will come later. But she says it will “do whatever it takes without breaking the bank to get their message out”. Michael Kogut of the group Citizens Against Casino Gaming, says he and other opponents expect they will be heavily outspent in the campaign, calling it a David versus Goliath battle. But he says their grassroots campaign will continue working the trenches to bring out their message to residents and officials that urban casinos rarely deliver on the promises promoters make.
“An urban center like Springfield is not a destination for a resort casino. It’s going to be an urban box-type casino regardless of the type of fanfare that they’ve surrounded with the host agreement. And we just believe it’s going to increase the socio-economic problems they city has.”
The State Gaming Commission will ultimately decide next year whether Springfield, West Springfield or Palmer will get to host western Massachusetts’ sole casino.